Music, Venue

Live Review: Loyle Carner @ Norwich Arts Centre

To start the night off, up-and-coming rapper Cabrakid begun at the Norwich Arts Centre with a blistering energy delivering verses as he hunched over the mic, putting power behind every word. A highlight can be found in his song ‘U’, which delivers some of Cabrkid’s most meaningful lyrics.

Next up, Othasoul; a duo that turned up the heat paying much lip service to the main act to come. In between their music, which with every line got the crowd more exited and moving ever closer together, they took a moment to reminisce on the state of rap culture, and how they wished there could be more collaboration and less friction in the lower echelons of the industry. They seemed indebted and in awe of who was up next for this reason:

Ben Coyle-Larner, known on stage as Loyle Carner, embarked on his Cantona tour at the end of September, making his debut appearance in Norwich last Tuesday 4th October. The night before playing his sold-out London show to a crowd of over 1,400 people, Loyle took the stage at the well-renowned Norwich Arts Centre where he was welcomed by the crowd chanting his name. Looking out in almost disbelief, Carner walks on stage holding his dad’s football shirt, as is custom at his live performances, which reveals a certain sentimentality which is echoed throughout his song writing.

This sensitivity in his lyrics is no more apparent than in songs like ‘Cantona’ and ‘BFG’, where Carner eloquently expresses his grief after losing his father. When he performs ‘BFG’ and the crowd sings along with him, there is a sense of unity between Loyle and his audience, creating a special moment during the set. Another similarly special moment is when Carner performs a crowd (and personal) favourite, ‘Florence’. His emotive lyrics are delivered over beats reminiscent to those created in the era of 90s American hip-hop, produced by DJ Rebel Kleff who stands with him behind the decks on stage.

Though the Arts Centre may be a small venue, the atmosphere was brilliant; the crowd were charged with excitement and energy from start to finish. This was especially true for their reaction to ‘Ain’t Nothing Changed’, after which Carner confessed that that was the best time he’d performed that song live so far. Though many artists say this during gigs to please the crowd, we’ll choose to believe him on this one!

As the set draws to a close, Carner announces that his album is finally finished and will be released sometime next year – despite demands from the crowd for a Christmas release. However, the even better news is that he will be releasing a single in the meantime to keep us all happy.

Carner closes the set with his latest single, ‘No CD’ – probably the catchiest song he’s released so far; he shares the stage with Rebel Kleff who appears on the track, and both of the night’s support acts. The high levels of energy and excitement translate from the stage to the crowd, where everyone sings along as they enjoy the last moments of what had been an incredible live show.


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January 2022
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